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Mirren to quit acting for quiet life

Helen Mirren says she wants to retire shortly, a revelation that will upset her many fans. The actress has told the American chat show hostess Ruby Wax that she does not want to continue working for ever.

"I don't think I want my career to go on and on," she said. "I want to retire quite soon. I want to live in the English countryside and paint bad pictures of horrible little landscapes." She added: "I feel this unbelievable depression when I open the pages of the Sunday papers - everyone looks so glamorous."

The confession, which emerged shortly before Mirren was due to attend the premiere of Some Mother's Son in which she has a has starring role, will be a blow for those who have avidly followed her progress through the five Prime Suspect series as Chief Inspector Jane Tennison, a role which catapulted her into the nation's hearts. As the chain-smoking detective she conquered police sexism and prejudice to solve numerous fictional murders.

Despite her popularity, however, the actress, who was 50 last year, will reveal to Wax in a BBC series beginning on 20 January that she is deeply insecure about her abilities and looks.

"I'm sick of the ambition, I'm so sick of this continual feeling of frustration - thinking am I doing it right? I'm not doing it right, I'm doing it terribly," she said. She also told Wax : "I'm really quite happy not to work."

Ms Mirren was allegedly asked to make a guest appearance on Saturday night's National Lottery show. But BBC chiefs reportedly shelved the idea because of the sensitivity surrounding the film and the Irish peace process.

It is a charge the BBC strenuously denies, saying Ms Mirren is one of several possible future National Lottery guests.

Asked about the lottery show, she said: "I was a little bit upset. I wasn't angry but I was looking forward to it. But I'm sure they'll ask me back again."

Wax also interviews Pamela Anderson, who reveals her favourite sexual position.